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Introducing the News-O-Matic SEL Series

Updated: Sep 11


It’s been a challenging year, to say the least. The switch to distance learning in the spring, the COVID-19 pandemic, and increased calls to action against racial inequality have defined 2020. And with the stresses and uncertainties of the upcoming back-to-school season, it will be more important than ever before for students to learn how to process and manage difficult emotions. That’s why News-O-Matic is launching a new social and emotional learning (SEL) series, just in time for the new school year.


SEL is a way for students to manage emotions, set goals, make good decisions, and build strong relationships. According to research from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), these skills play a critical role in students’ success by helping them get better grades and effectively manage their classroom behavior.


News-O-Matic wants to help students and teachers further integrate SEL into the classroom during this challenging time. In August and September, we are publishing a 21-part series related to the five core competencies of SEL, as defined by CASEL. These competencies are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.


News-O-Matic’s SEL series was developed based on interviews with and insights from CASEL as well as teachers, child psychologists, and other social and emotional learning experts. News-O-Matic also includes voices from kids about how to stay positive. The series aims to help students deal with difficult emotions that may result from the stresses of the pandemic, school closures, and systemic racism, as well as more evergreen topics such as making friends, dealing with bullies, and forming healthy habits.


News-O-Matic’s on-staff child psychologist, Dr. Phyllis Ohr, said, “Enriching the social, emotional, and behavioral functioning of children is one of the most critical contributions that a school can make to a child’s development. Programs teaching SEL skills are particularly meaningful for children in today’s world, who are facing unprecedented emotional, social, and behavioral challenges. While children typically rely on schools to broaden their knowledge about the world, schools that integrate News-O-Matic’s new SEL series into their curriculum can also help children broaden their knowledge about themselves — by giving them tools of emotional intelligence that can last them a lifetime.”


As with all News-O-Matic content, the SEL series is designed to be accessible to readers of all ages and abilities. All of the articles appear in three reading levels in English, and there are translations in Spanish, French, and Arabic. Native speakers read every article out loud in all four languages (at all of the levels) for students to listen along. Videos and colorful photos accompany the articles, and comprehension questions reinforce understanding of the text. Articles in the SEL series will be published daily from August 7 through September 4. Students and teachers can just look for the red SEL icon.

Teachers can download our free SEL lesson plan and the full list of upcoming SEL articles.


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